From the Richmond Enquirer, 7/30/1861
A Visit to the Wounded Yankee Prisoners - The New York Fire Zouaves - A few suggestions.
Yesterday morning our reporter paid a visit to the City Alms House, where a number of the wounded, captured at Manassas, are now quartered. The Alms House is a large four story building, recently erected and completed with the exception of the plastering. It is situated on a commanding elevation in the northeastern portion of the city and affords from its windows and spacious porches a magnificent view of the surrounding country. It is most admirably adapted for a hospital, the use to which it is now put, as well on account of its interior arrangements as its salubrious situation. The wounded prisoners occupy the south end of the second story. Those seriously wounded are lying on mattresses, and, others who are slightly injured, sit on benches or walk up and down he porches as suits their pleasure. An air of neatness pervades the whole establishment, and the order is only broken by the occasional curses of a "Pet Lamb." With the exception of the New York Zouaves, the prisoners express regret at taking up arms against our people. Some say their newspapers and politicians had led them to believe that Southerners were semi-barbarous, and were preparing to overrun the North; others had been persuaded that the masses of the people here were held in subjection by a few unprincipled men, and desired the aid of the North to regain their independence; and many enlisted with the understanding that they would only be employed in the defence of Washington city. They are very grateful for the kind treatment they are receiving at our hands. But the Fire Zouaves are incorrigible. They seem perfectly oblivious to every sentiment of honor, gratitude or decency. They have nothing but the human form and faculty of speech to distinguish them from Gorillas.
No wonder the Astors and Coopers, of New York, contributed so liberally to their equipment, and urged them so earnestly to invade the South. They knew their brown stone fronts, marble palaces and plethoric warehouses rested on a foundation as insecure as the passions of this "glorious fighting material," as Ellsworth termed them, which waited but the spark of some favorable event to fan into flames, fiercer than those that lit up the streets of Paris, and cast a lurid light over the thousand horrors of a French revolution. The New York "Herald" stated, a few weeks ago, that there were three hundred thousand just such men in the North as those composing the fire Zouave regiments, and insisted they should be organized into a "grand army," to invade the South; and should, in the language of the Botany Bay Poet,
"Leave their country for their country's good."
The sentiment of humanity, which finds no more capacious dwelling than a Southern heart, demands these Zouaves – debased, degraded and ungrateful as they are – should be taken care of in their present condition; but we would respectfully suggest that no such sentiment requires that our men should be compelled to occupy the same apartment with them, or what is tantamount to it, adjoining rooms, through the open doors of which they can hear abuse heaped upon our cause by the representatives from Blackwell's Island, the Five Points, and other renowned school from whence Northern policy draws its deepest inspirations.